Knowing how to organise a conference is a skill that can be quickly learnt, but organising a great conference – that takes hard work and a commitment to perfection! One of the most important aspects of a great conference is that offers the attendees something unique that can’t be obtained or experienced at any other conference. Once you know your point of difference, follow these five steps to create an unforgettable and truly successful conference.
1. Organise a conference team
No-one can organise a large conference on their own, particularly if the time frame is tight. It’s a much better idea to ask for volunteers who can work on specific tasks, sharing the workload, and removing some of the pressure on the principal organiser (you). Even though you still need to achieve your end-goals by a set date, working together with a team makes it a much less stressful, and often more enjoyable experience.
2. Make use of technology
Keeping your team up to date with progress is easy if you use conference software (such as Trello) that lets everyone update the same documents, so nothing gets missed. There’s also conference management software that helps you to collate and review guest speaker submissions, register attendees and build your event’s programme. Embracing technology helps you to learn how to organise a conference very quickly!
3. Create a realistic budget
You can’t start looking for a venue until you have a realistic budget. This will partly depend on your pricing model for registrations, so this is also something you need to tackle at the same time. Reviewing previous budgets for similar conference costs and pricing models is a good idea. However, if all else fails, decide on a reasonable pricing model, adding in sponsorship fees, and work backwards from this point. Making a profit is ideal, but breaking even is vital!
4. Choose your venue
The fourth step in learning how to organise a conference is to choose your venue. This needs to be ticked off your list after you have organised your budget and you have a fair idea of the number of attendees you can expect. A location close to public transport and airports is often a good choice, as is one that offers catering, and has sufficient room for all your guests (multiple room options is an added bonus). Updated technology and a variety of media options are other important factors, but one of the most essential is that the venue offers something different to your guests. As an example, Victoria Park in Brisbane is a popular conference venue, because it has a bistro as well as offering catering, eight different function rooms, an 18-hole golf course with city views (par 65), putt putt golf, driving range, playground and wonderful lush parklands, all within easy reach of the city and airport.
5. Set up a website
Your last task in learning how to organise a conference is to set up a website to promote your conference, provide information about the location and venue, and allow people to register online. Make your website attractive and engaging and always respond to comments or enquiries quickly and politely.
With these five tips, you shouldn’t have any problems organising an awesome conference that will be a talking point for many years into the future!